England's 2018 World Cup bid reached its latest milestone yesterday as the Government signed off the guarantees required by FIFA, Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe announced.
All bidding nations have to sign up to deliver a number of guarantees drawn up by football's world governing body before submitting the final bid to FIFA in May 2010.
The guarantees, signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Departmental Ministers, are in areas such as tax, visas and security.
Gerry Sutcliffe, who sits on the 2018 World Cup Advisory Group, said:
"I am delighted that we have already got to this point following a huge effort from across Whitehall. The Government is completely behind England's bid to host the World Cup and getting these guarantees signed off well in advance underlines that continuing commitment, as does the availability of a loan to support the bid itself. A World Cup in England would be a fantastic event embraced by football fans from across the globe. We would deliver a superb legacy from the tournament to football worldwide. It would, of course, also bring huge economic benefits to this country."
England 2018 Bid Chairman Lord Triesman said:
"The signing of the guarantees months in advance of the May 2010 deadline is a testament to the Government's commitment to bringing the World Cup to England, in particular the Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe and his officials who have worked very hard to secure them so early. The guarantees underpin around £300 million pounds worth of financial commitment without which it would be impossible to host the tournament.
"This again demonstrates England's desire as a whole to meet and exceed FIFA's requirements and guarantees FIFA the most secure environment possible for the world's biggest sporting event in terms of security, financial, legal and commercial partner delivery.
"In addition we are in the midst of our Candidate Host City selection process. The cities are also committing to substantial financial and legal guarantees as well as significant legacy investment. This clearly shows a nationwide enthusiasm for bringing the World Cup to England."
England will present its final bid submission to FIFA in May next year. FIFA will then make a final decision on who will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December 2010.